The University of Oklahoma (Norman campus)
Regular session – April 9, 2012 – 3:30 p.m. – Jacobson Faculty Hall 102
office: Jacobson Faculty Hall 206   phone: 325-6789
e-mail:   website:


The Faculty Senate was called to order by Professor Georgia Kosmopoulou, Chair.


PRESENT:       Apanasov, Ayres, Baer, Bemben, Buckley, Burns, Chang, Devegowda, Ellis, Fagg, Grady, Gramoll, Hahn, Jean-Marie, Kimball, Klein, Kosmopoulou, Leseney, Marsh-Matthews, McPherson, Morrissey, Morvant, Moses, Moxley, Natale, Nelson, A. Palmer, Park, Ransom, Soreghan, Stock, Vehik, Verma, Wydra, Zhang, Zhu

ISA representatives:  Cook, Hough

ABSENT:         Adams, Bergey, Bisel, Cox-Fuenzalida, Keresztesi, Laubach, Loon, Minter, G. Palmer, Stoltenberg, Tabb, Taylor, Williams





Bicycle Friendly University


Social Justice Award

Faculty retiree deaths

Research, non-financial conflict of interest

Senate Chair's Report:

Semester reports from council chairs

Benefits: Retiree medical proposal

Faculty workload policy

Meeting with OSU and HSC

Faculty award recipients

Early progress reports

Preliminary nominations for councils, committees, boards






The Faculty Senate Journal for the regular session of March 12, 2012 was approved.





At the March meeting, the Faculty Senate’s Faculty Welfare Committee introduced a resolution supporting recognition as a Bicycle Friendly University.  In response to suggestions made at the last meeting, Faculty Welfare Committee Chair Scott Moses proposed two friendly amendments (attached). With no further discussion from the floor, the Senate unanimously approved the resolution as amended.





Nominations are being accepted until April 15 for the Social Justice Award (see  Through the Social Justice Awards, the Center for Social Justice honors individuals who demonstrate compassion, courage, and leadership. Nominees are people who work to eliminate discrimination, oppression, and injustice locally and globally. Each year the Center for Social Justice honors one student, one faculty member, and one staff member who work to make our world a better place.  The Social Justice Awards highlight individuals’ tireless efforts to impact our world and inspire others to do the same. 


The Faculty Senate is sad to report the deaths of retired faculty members Harriet Turkington (Home Economics) on March 7, B.G. Schumacher (Management) on March 15 and Ed Cline (Mathematics and former Faculty Senate Chair) on March 23. 





Vice President for Research Kelvin Droegemeier said he had presented a draft of the proposed non-financial conflict of interest (COI) policy to the Faculty Senate a year ago.  After receiving input, he and a task force developed a revised policy (see that is now out for open comment.  The University already has a financial COI policy that says individuals who have a financial interest in a company must disclose that and develop a plan for managing or removing the conflict.  There are other types of conflicts, such as conflict of commitment, use of resources, use of official position, and relationships with organizations.  In August 2010, the Compliance Advisory Committee asked that a broader COI policy be developed for the Norman campus.  An ad hoc task force, with faculty representation, was formed, and the task force drafted the policy presented last year.  The new draft document is for Norman campus faculty and staff.  It would be an addition to the existing financial COI policy and presently is a separate policy.  Some points that the Faculty Senate had suggested were to make the policy more readable (reduce the legalese) and to fold the compliance policies into a single COI plan.  To address the first point, another document was created to explain briefly how to comply with the policy.  After the Regents approve the final non-financial COI policy, the expectation is the policies will be blended into a single policy.  A change made since the last policy, because of NIH guidelines, was that the minimum value for reporting a potential conflict went from a $10,000 to a $5,000 interest in a particular company.  However, the interest applies only to a company that does business with OU and relates to an employee’s professional area.  For example, it would apply to a faculty member who is funded by a pharmaceutical company that provides equipment to OU or has some research agreement.  A second change is that faculty and staff would have to get approval to serve on a board, as an officer, or as some type of director for a company that does business with OU.  It may mean that the conflict could be handled by recusing the employee from certain discussions.  The consequences of failing to comply can be pretty severe.  At the national level, COI is continuing to be more of a burden, although a few agencies are pulling back from some reporting requirements.  On behalf of academia, he is strongly advocating to the agencies that faculty members already spend 42 percent of the time that they spend on research doing administrative activity associated with research and grants.  He is working to bring that number down.  Each vice president would be responsible for developing an implementation policy.  Most faculty will come under the Provost office, but some staff report to different vice presidents.  The task force worked with the Institutional Review Board to make sure that the various policies across campus were consistent. 


As the next step, Vice President Droegemeier put the draft out for a 30-day public comment period.  It is on the Vice President for Research web site ( and requires a log in.  The first document is the 24-page proposed policy that will be considered by the OU Regents; the second document is a user’s guide that summarizes the key points.  He would like to reduce the guide down to one page.  Dr. Droegemeier said he welcomes input on both documents and will try to respond to all the comments.  He also will be making presentations this month at the Deans’ Council, to the Compliance Advisory Committee, and to the Staff Senate Executive Committee.  After the comment period, the plan is to evaluate the comments and make revisions.  The policy document will be put on the Regents’ agenda sometime this summer or fall.  Once the policy is approved by the Regents, the task force will develop an implementation plan.  Eventually all the COI documents will be merged into a single document.  He asked the senators to remind their colleagues that he values their input.  (The slides that Dr. Droegemeier presented at the meeting are available from the Senate office.)


Prof. Grady said he did not agree with the logic of using 25 percent of an employee’s nine-month salary as the maximum for outside income.  If the 25 percent number is used, then the salary should include fringe benefits.  Dr. Droegemeier answered that the origin of the number had to do with conflict of commitment.  The question becomes where your loyalty resides and to whom you are committed if you are tripling your salary by doing outside work.  Prof. Gramoll clarified that the 25 percent only applied to income from companies that do business with OU and the activity is in the employee’s area of expertise.  Prof. Ayres pointed out that the policy says professional or consulting activity and implies that activities such as investing or engaging in something outside of work might not apply.  Dr. Droegemeier said maybe that should be clarified.  Prof. Ayres mentioned that just because a person had to disclose a potential conflict did not mean he could not do the activity.  Dr. Droegemeier said it was not the intent to overrule that notion.  Prof. Palmer said her understanding was that faculty who are on 9-month appointments could do what they wanted during the summer.  Dr. Droegemeier said the policy talks about funded FTE.  Prof. Ayres noted that the policy reads, “Annual income for professional or consulting service from a company in excess of 25 percent of the employee’s institutional base salary.”  Then it goes on to say there are some activities that have no business relationship to OU and are unrelated to an employee’s academic or professional activity.  Prof. Grady said he thought the threshold applied to all companies, not just “a” company.  Prof. Burns asked whether faculty would have to disclose book royalties.  Prof. Ayres said this policy was not really a change from the existing policy.  Prof. Morvant said he thought the policy would apply if the book was based on one’s professional area.  Dr. Droegemeier said he would look into the issues the senators had raised:  the 25 percent figure, non-professional related activities (e.g., ownership in a family business that has no relationship to OU), and book royalties.


Prof. Soreghan asked how this policy compared with policies at peer institutions.  Dr. Droegemeier said the task force looked at policies from other institutions and tried to include what was necessary without being too restrictive.  He reminded the group that he would like the faculty’s thoughts on the policy as well as the user’s guide. 



SENATE CHAIR'S REPORT, by Prof. Georgia Kosmopoulou


“We had our large executive committee meeting two weeks ago, and we heard from Al Schwarzkopf as the chair of the Information Technology Council and representative of the Academic Programs Council, the Athletics Council chair Emily Johnson, the Continuing Education Council chair Shannon Bert, the Budget Council chair Susan Hahn, the Faculty Welfare Committee chair Scott Moses and our Tulsa Liaison Janette Habashi. Al Schwarzkopf discussed research computing with major focus on support services for non-grant supported research. IT is continuing to work on classroom technology (lecture capture) and making improvements for OZone. Emily Johnson, the Chair of the Athletics Council, discussed athlete health and safety issues. We will hear a lot more about the Athletic Department from its director Joe Castiglione, who will visit the Senate next month. In the Continuing Education Council, they are discussing teaching, teaching overloads and military contracts. The focus of the Faculty Welfare Committee is on wellness initiatives and benefits. In Tulsa, they started an external review accreditation process.  They are also discussing opening a new center for community engagement and research.  Annual reports from all councils are due on May 11.


“In our small executive committee meeting we discussed the University conflict of interest policy and retiree medical benefits. This last issue and our proposal was the main topic of our discussion with the President this past week. The President said that we should be able to reach common ground soon. There was a meeting with the Employment Benefits Council that was still pending at the time. The good news we heard from Julius Hilburn a few days earlier is that the cost of the proposed changes that the Senate executive committee suggested is not very high. We thanked the President for adopting the revisions of the faculty workload policy proposed by the Senate executive committee ( Policy.htm). 


“Last week we had a joint meeting with members of the Oklahoma State University Council and OU Health Sciences Center Senate executive committees and discussed issues of interest for the representatives of the three campuses. At OUHSC they are discussing for the first time the format of a post tenure review process.  OSU is considering dependent tuition waiver, has implemented a phased retirement program as a pilot program initially and is considering long-term budget solutions.  We talked about energy initiatives and President Hargis’ interest in outsourcing student housing. 


“On Thursday I took part in the Faculty Tribute award ceremony. Faculty received awards for their outstanding contribution to teaching, research scholarship and service. A number of current faculty senators received awards. Those are Allison Palmer, who received the General Education Teaching Award, and Brian Grady and Pramode Verma, who received patent awards.  Frances Ayres and Daniel Ransom were recognized for 30 years of service at OU, and Michael Bemben and Luz-Eugenia Cox-Fuenzalida were recognized for 20 years of service.  Please join me in congratulating our faculty and faculty senators who received awards and recognitions this year.


“Prof. Minter inquired at our last meeting about the timing of mid-term progress reports. Midterm reports serve the purpose of informing students on their progress in a class so that they can either drop the course or take steps to improve performance. The timing of reporting was determined to allow students to drop a course, if necessary. They are solicited in the seventh week, which gives sufficient time for advisors to notify the students to take action. The seventh week was recommended by the President's Graduation and Retention Task Force, which has faculty representation, and was related to the changes to the withdrawal policy implemented in fall 2011. In circumstances where there is no grade assigned by the faculty member by the seventh week, he or she can indicate so. For this process to be meaningful, the grades have to be solicited in a timely fashion. It used to be at five weeks, and now it is at seven weeks. It allows the advisers a couple of weeks to notify students before the tenth week deadline.  If you want to receive more information, please contact Joyce Allman,, the Associate Provost for Academic Advising Oversight.”





The Faculty Senate’s Committee on Committees’ preliminary nominations for committees for the end-of-year vacancies on university and campus councils, committees, and boards was distributed at the meeting and will be voted on at the May meeting.  A few vacancies remained to be filled.





The meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.  The next regular session of the Faculty Senate will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 7, 2012, in Jacobson Faculty Hall 102.


Sonya Fallgatter, Administrative Coordinator


Fran Ayres, Faculty Secretary